Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Environmental Quality
Air Pollution Control Board
Regulation for Emissions Trading [9 VAC 5 ‑ 140]
Action Repeal CO 2 Budget Trading Program as required by Executive Order 9 (Revision A22)
Comment Period Ended on 10/26/2022
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10/25/22  4:43 pm
Commenter: Scott Peterson, Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions

Virginia Needs the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

I add my voice to those from around Virginia who are utterly dismayed that Gov. Youngkin wants to end Virginia’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative or RGGI.

RGGI is working. Through its innovative cap-and-trade auction system, electric power plants are switching from dirty coal and natural gas to clean, renewable power from low-cost solar. As Virginia establishes itself as a leader in offshore wind, clean renewable electricity from the wind is coming, too.

In a March 2022 report published by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, the administration recognized that RGGI “has a long track record of emission reductions since the beginning of the program.” 637829669069026180 at 13

RGGI auctions in Virginia have generated $452 million so far with 50% going to low-income energy efficiency and weatherization programs administered by the state Department of Housing and Community Development, and 45% to the Community Flood Preparedness Fund, administered by the Department of Conservation and Recreation with support from the Virginia Resources Authority. The remaining 5% goes toward administrative costs for the programs.

Pulling Virginia out of RGGI would strip away critical funding that local governments need as they wrestle with rising seas, flooding caused by sudden downpours, and extreme heat that are the biproducts of a warming climate. Under-resourced, small, and rural communities do not have the capacity to address these challenges on their own.

Yet Governor Youngkin ignores this reality and has proposed no alternative funding.

I have read that Gov. Youngkin is concerned about consumers having to pay surcharges in their monthly bills for the transition to solar and wind. The quickest way for Virginia utilities to stop paying into RGGI and passing along any costs is a quick transition to solar, wind, and utility-scale batteries. Solar is the cheapest energy source by far. 

Why would Gov. Youngkin want to abandon RGGI? It makes no sense. Unless the Governor is a climate denier--which he is proving he is. 

CommentID: 196880